God expects us to plant the seed of the Word, recycling what was put into us. “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations,” Jesus said in Matt 28:20, followed immediately by, “teaching them to observe all things I have commanded you,” the first of which was to “Go make disciples.” I am afraid we wait for personal evangelism systems to come our way before we even try; not realizing that we plant something every day, sometimes in spite of ourselves.
God has expected his people to teach the succeeding generations since the beginning. Noah preached for 120 years while he built that ark, and achieved nothing, right? No, he saved his family. I have known preachers who were so busy preaching and holding personal Bible studies that they completely ignored the prospects in their own homes. I have known Christians who expected the church to do their work for them, and then wondered what happened when their children fell away. “Fathers raise your children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Eph 6:4), not churches, not Bible class teachers, not even mothers—FATHERS. That’s where the buck stops with God.
Churches are taught to pass the gospel along. If we behave ourselves as we ought, even our mere existence “makes known the manifold wisdom of God” to the world (Eph 3:10). The teaching is internal as well. The older women are to train the younger, and the older men the younger men (Titus 2:2-8). Preachers are told to train others to preach (2 Tim 2:2). God expects his people to be farmers, planting the seed year after year, on purpose. Yet we plant accidentally too.
You plant it in your children every time they see you make an important decision. You plant it in them every time they see you study your Bible and pray. You plant it in them with home Bible studies, with family prayers, and even with your comments as you live your life. Do they see thanksgiving or griping? Do they hear love and appreciation of other Christians or backbiting and gossip?
You plant it in your friends and neighbors when they see you in the car every Sunday morning without fail. You plant it in them when they see how you handle the trials of life, or even the small nuisances. You plant it in them when you lend a hand, even unasked. You plant it in them when you say good things about your church family. You plant it in them when you invite them to a Bible study or a group service. What kinds of things do you bother to invite your friends to except the things that matter most to you? .
Even when we think we aren’t, we are always planting. Even fallow fields do not stay empty. Grass, weeds, and even volunteer vegetables spring up untended. “Fallow” doesn’t mean bare, it means unused or idle. A fallow heart simply doesn’t care what comes up. Sowing the seed is a little bit like setting an example—you do it whether you intend to or not. You are planting something with every word and action. Make sure it’s the gospel.
Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. Gal 6:7-9